What comes to your mind when you heard the word Singapore?
"Where is it?"
"Ah.. Pirates of the Carribean: At the World's End."
Measuring at only 682.7 square kilometres, it is among the 20 smallest countries in the world. It is only about 1/15,000 of the size of USA.
The first records of settlement in Singapore are from the 2nd century AD. The island was an outpost of the Sumatran Srivijaya empire and originally had the name Temasek (meaning 'sea town' in the ancient Javanese).
The name 'Singapore' comes from Malay 'Singa Pura', which means the "Lion-city". However, it is possible that one element of its name had a more distant original source.
Pura comes from Sanskrit puram, "city, fortress". Singa comes from Sanskrit siṃha, which means "lion".
Even today the country is referred to as the Lion City.
Studies of Singapore indicate that lions probably never lived there, not even Asiatic lions. According to legend, a visiting Sri Vijayan prince saw an animal he mistook for a lion. The beast seen by Sang Nila Utama, the founder of Singapore, was most likely a tiger, probably the Malayan tiger.
Today, Singapore is the home of almost 5 million people. It's quite amazing remebering the size of the country.